Specific treatment for osteoarthritis will be determined by your physician based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, and therapies
- Expectation for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
The goals of treatment for osteoarthritis are to reduce joint pain and stiffness, and improve joint movement. Treatment may include:
- Exercise - Regular, aerobic exercise, and stretching and strengthening exercises may help reduce the symptoms of and pain associated with osteoarthritis.
- Heat treatment - Treating the affected joint with heat may help reduce pain.
- Physical and occupational therapy - Physical and occupational therapy may help to reduce joint pain, improve joint flexibility when performing daily activities, and reduce joint strain.
- Weight maintenance - Maintaining your recommended weight or losing weight (if overweight) may help to prevent or reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
- Medication - Medication for specific symptoms may include pain relievers (in pill form or topical cream) and anti-inflammatory medications, if inflammation is present.
- Injections of thick liquids into the joints - These liquids mimic normal joint fluid.
- Joint surgery - Surgery may be necessary to repair or replace a severely damaged joint.